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Where To Learn Essential Data Science Skills Online

September 6, 2018 at 8:07 AM

The value and benefits of becoming a data scientist or picking up basic data science skills, cannot be overstated in today’s world. Businesses across all industries are starting to embrace data analytics and those who aren’t will soon feel the advantage gained by their competitors who are.

The “sexiest job of the 21st century” and the “hottest job of the decade” is the fastest growing field in technology at the moment and it offers the prospect of a very well-paid career in an innovative area.

In this blog, we’ve created a (non-exhaustive) list of online courses you should consider if you want to learn essential data science skills. We’ll also be putting together a list of the classroom, in-person, on-site courses and certifications available in South Africa, so check back here soon if you’d be more interested in attending physical classes.

Online data science courses available

Simplilearn’s Data Science Certification Training – R Programming

Course Description: Become an expert in data analytics using the R programming language in this data science training course. You'll master data exploration, data visualisation, predictive analytics and descriptive analytics techniques with the R language. With this data science course, you'll get hands-on practice on R CloudLab by implementing various real-life, industry-based projects in the domains of healthcare, retail, insurance, finance, airlines, music industry, and unemployment.

Duration: 40 hours

Cost: $399 for the self-paced learning option; $799 for online classroom Flexi-pass training option

Prerequisites: None

Learn more: https://www.simplilearn.com/big-data-and-analytics/data-scientist-certification-sas-r-excel-training

Coursera's Data-Driven Decision Making Course

Course Description: In this course, you'll get an introduction to Data Analytics and its role in business decisions. You'll learn why data is important and how it has evolved. You'll explore "Big Data" and how to use it. You'll also get an introduction to a framework for conducting Data Analysis and what tools and techniques are used commonly. Finally, you'll have a chance to put your knowledge to work in a simulated business setting.

Duration: 4 weeks

Cost: $49 per month gets you access to this & 4 other courses as part of the Data Analysis and Presentation Skills: the PwC Approach Specialisation

Prerequisites: None.

Learn more: https://www.coursera.org/learn/decision-making

Coursera’s Data Science Specialisation

Course Description: This Specialisation covers the concepts and tools you'll need throughout the entire data science pipeline, from asking the right kinds of questions to making inferences and publishing results. In the final Capstone Project, you’ll apply the skills learned by building a data product using real-world data. At completion, students have a portfolio demonstrating their mastery of the material.

Duration: This specialisation consists of 10 courses with 9 courses taking place over 4 weeks and the 10th taking place over 7 weeks. It's recommended to start off with the first and then the second course in the specialisation, but the remainder can be completed in any order or parallel with each other. On average, the specialisation duration is between 3 and 6 months. 

Cost: $49 per month for all access to all 10 courses in the specialisation

Prerequisites: None

Learn more: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/jhu-data-science

Coursera’s Machine Learning Specialisation

Course Description: his Specialization from leading researchers at the University of Washington introduces you to the exciting, high-demand field of Machine Learning. Through a series of practical case studies, you will gain applied experience in major areas of Machine Learning including Prediction, Classification, Clustering, and Information Retrieval. You will learn to analyse large and complex datasets, create systems that adapt and improve over time, and build intelligent applications that can make predictions from data.

Duration: There are 4 courses in this specialisation, with the 1st, 2nd and 4th courses duration being 6 weeks and the 3rd course 7 weeks. On average, it takes 8 months to complete the specialisation.

Cost: $49 per month for all access to all 4 courses in the specialisation

Prerequisites: Basic math and Python programming skills

Learn more: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/machine-learning

Udacity’s Intro to Data Science

Course description: The Introduction to Data Science class will survey the foundational topics in data science, namely:

  • Data Manipulation
  • Data Analysis with Statistics and Machine Learning
  • Data Communication with Information Visualization
  • Data at Scale -- Working with Big Data

The class will focus on breadth and present the topics briefly instead of focusing on a single topic in depth. This will give you the opportunity to sample and apply the basic techniques of data science.

Duration: Approximately 2 months

Cost: Free

Prerequisites: Interest in data science, background in basic statistics, Python programming skills or basic understanding of programming concepts.

Learn more: https://www.udacity.com/course/intro-to-data-science--ud359

Udacity’s Intro to Machine Learning

Course Description: This is a class that will teach you the end-to-end process of investigating data through a machine learning lens. It will teach you how to extract and identify useful features that best represent your data, a few of the essential machine learning algorithms, and how to evaluate the performance of your machine learning algorithms.

Duration: 10 weeks on average

Cost: Free

Prerequisites: Proficiency in programming in Python and knowledge of basic statistics.

Learn more: https://www.udacity.com/course/intro-to-machine-learning--ud120

edX’s Data Science Essentials Course

Course Description: In this data science course, you will learn key concepts in data acquisition, preparation, exploration, and visualisation taught alongside practical application-oriented examples such as how to build a cloud data science solution using Microsoft Azure Machine Learning platform, or with R, and Python on Azure stack.

Duration: 6 weeks

Cost: Free, verified certificate for $99

Prerequisites: Basic maths, basic knowledge of R or Python

Learn more: https://www.edx.org/course/data-science-essentials

edX’s The Analytics Edge Course

Course Description: In this course, you will learn how to use data and analytics to give an edge to your career and your life. We will examine real-world examples of how analytics have been used to improve a business or industry significantly. These examples include Moneyball, eHarmony, the Framingham Heart Study, Twitter, IBM Watson, and Netflix. Through these examples and many more, we will teach you the following analytics methods: linear regression, logistic regression, trees, text analytics, clustering, visualisation, and optimisation. We will be using the statistical software R to build models and work with data.

Duration: 13 weeks

Cost: Free, verified certificate for $150

Prerequisites: Basic mathematical knowledge (at a high school level). You should be familiar with concepts like mean, standard deviation, and scatterplots. Mathematical maturity and prior experience with programming will decrease the estimated effort required for the class but are not necessary to succeed.

Learn more: https://www.edx.org/course/the-analytics-edge

Udemy’s Introduction to Data Science

Course Description: This course covers the necessary tools and concepts used in the data science industry, including machine learning, statistical inference, working with data at scale and much more.

Duration: 3 hours

Cost: R200

Prerequisites: Basic understanding of R

Learn more: https://www.udemy.com/learn-data-science

Future Learn’s Introduction to R for Data Science

Course Description: This course will use airline data to demonstrate key concepts involved in the analysis of big data. In this course, you will learn how to use the R platform to manage data. The course serves as an introduction to the R software. It lays the foundation for anyone to begin studying data science and its applications, or to prepare learners to take more advanced courses related to data science, such as machine learning and computational statistics.

Duration: 4 weeks

Cost: Free, $84 for a certificate and some other benefits

Prerequisites: None

Learn more: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/data-science

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13 South African Data Science & Machine Learning Meetup Groups To Join

Meetup (www.meetup.com) was founded in 2002 and is an online service used to organise groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests. A social networking tool, unlike any other, Meetup, has more than 35 million users in 180 countries. In South Africa, there are many meetups organised for various interests. Of course, our interests span data science, machine learning and AI, so we took the time to put together a (non-comprehensive) list of the groups who organise meetups that we (and hopefully you) find of interest. We hope you make it out to one of these groups meetups soon!